Nature Ramble

Not so much a ‘ramble’ today, but some thoughts on rambling that reminded me of my own childhood explorations.
“I’m not sure I fully understand the term “psychogeography”. To me, it means the exploration of an unlikely place or a hidden aspect of a place, and whenever I hear it I think of Sunday walks in my childhood, when we would follow an overgrown and neglected path and sometimes scrape away the turf to discover a square stone with bolt holes drilled through it. As beetles hurried this way and that across its surface, my older brother would explain that the stone had once held an iron rail and that the path had once been a wagon-way, built in the 18th century to take coal from the Fife pits to a harbour on the Forth.As nobody else seemed to know or care about these facts, I felt I was sharing a historical secret. There were several of them close by: dark, deep ponds that had once been quarries; a ruined slipway built to take seaplanes; steel rings that had tethered barrage balloons; an abandoned railway tunnel where bats flew. Like a great many people in what was at that time an industrial country, I grew up in a landscape that was interestingly pockmarked with successive eras of exploitation, and all of it so commonplace that beyond a mention of its origins, Watt’s engine or Crompton’s spinning mule, it never found a place in the history books.”

That’s the opening paragraph of an article in The Guardian on the proposed development of the Thames Hub on the Hoo peninsula. The rest of the article is worth a read, there’s still more to be found amongst the politics.

Poignant for me, because we, as kids, explored places where rusting machinery, and strange things whose origins or uses unknown were discovered.

Had my mother known about many of our expeditions, she’d have had kittens. Mothers today don’t have kittens, they keep their offspring tied to their apron strings, but then even aprons have gone by the wayside.

The paragraph is so terribly nostalgic. Just look at this; every boys’ dream, to explore and see the past at your finger tips.

Cliffe Fort, built 1861-70 on the Hoo Peninsula in Kent, in defense of the Thames Estuary

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